The story of the 17 arrests in Toronto has been out for a few days now. I've discovered a website/blog that deals with 'systems disruption' and many other issues concerning the new face of war in the 21st century.
John Robb is a former Air Force officer and Department of Defense Counter-terrorism expert who now has a website dedicated to reporting on 'open-source warfare' and other issues affecting economics. He has an article devoted to what the discovery of these homegrown [for now, alleged] terrorists means to all of us in the West.
Do not fail to copy and paste this link in your browser. Agree or disagree with him, he provides plenty of food-for-thought. Read his 'About' page,too.
Here's a snippet:
Like London, the Toronto cell came together in a familiar pattern of community formation (for more see the brief on emergent communities dedicated to war). This community formation is a classic indicator of open source warfare, since the group didn't need to have any direct connection with al Qaeda in order to form. However, in one area it appears the group fell short. It appears that the group absorbed very little of the innovation developed in other theaters (fortunately):
Symbolic terrorism. The attacks were planned against hard government targets.
These targets required large quantities of explosives and a large team.
The large team and extensive provisioning required for these attacks made it possible to catch them.
Here's what this means
In no particular order:
The incident in Toronto is yet another demonstration that globalization has melted the map. The old boundaries that used to protect us are both ineffective and of little consequence in a world where ideas and people can flow without much restriction.
It also demonstrates that the call of primary loyalties can emerge even within the relative prosperity of a western nation. We are fragmenting, and this is a demonstration of that. As things continue to heat up in the Middle East, particularly when Iran is attacked, we will see an acceleration of fragmentation.
Finally, the errors and failures of this group will likely serve as further reinforcement among prospective actors towards the adoption of systems disruption (which we are seeing emerge globally). We won't be so lucky in the future. Those groups that have adopted this approach are demonstrating that it is possible to remain small and undetectable, reduce provisioning to household items and still achieve massive impact, and survive.
Here's the link and I'm adding Global Guerrillas to my Blogroll.